French fashion's entente cordiale

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Their labels have already conquered women's wardrobes. Now Sandro's range for men will turn the guys Gallic too, says Harriet Walker

Forget Carla Bruni-Sarkozy meeting the Queen: if there's one thing that's most indicative of the famed Franco-British entente cordiale, it's the proliferation of Gallic labels across our high streets.

From Maje – which has been sported by both Middleton sisters – to The Kooples, currently collaborating with tortured soul Pete Doherty, these brands from across the water have been embraced not only by variously esteemed national icons but also by us, the discerning public. Department store Selfridges reports a 20 per cent growth in sales for French labels in the past year.

And what happens in womenswear eventually trickles through to the blokes' wardrobes too. Sandro is one of the biggest French success stories in recent seasons; its casual and comfortably chic clothes have proved a hit in the women's market, and the label is preparing to open its first dedicated menswear store in London's Westbourne Grove next month.

"We are now living in a world where influences are worldwide," says the creative director of Sandro menswear Ilan Chetrite. "The classically elegant Parisian aesthetic, mixed with a more rebellious rock attitude, perfectly straddles the idea of aspirational fashion and wearable clothes that men actually want to buy. This might explain the success of French brands abroad."

From its naïve but modern duffle coats and anoraks, to grungey jeans and retro blousons, Sandro's "Homme" range channels that dedicated sartorial nonchalance that Frenchmen and women alike are so known for. There's nowhere better to look for those who wistfully entertain the dream of joining the "this old thing?" school of dressing.

Launched originally in 1984, Sandro's first store was located on the Rue Vieille du Temple, in the heart of the buzzing Marais district in Paris, taking that area's youthful vibrancy and irreverence into account in its designs. But since the brand's international expansion, there are now more than 250 shops worldwide – including three outposts in London, as well as concessions within Selfridges in Manchester and Birmingham. The menswear store, slated to open in June, will add to the portfolio the first space to feature the men's range exclusively. And Sandro stores are light, airy and uncomplicated, welcoming even the most impatient and recalcitrant of shoppers.

But its success to date has been compounded online too. Heavily featured on and a consistent favourite with online boutique Mr Porter, Sandro's menswear already has a cult of followers in the UK.

"The beauty of the brand is that they produce extremely well-made garments in beautiful fabrics at a very reasonable price," says buyer Sam Lobban, "taking their styling from clean, cool Parisian style with all the right nods to mainline designers. Slim suiting, great tuxes, crisp clean small pique collar shirts, and then great coats and bomber jackets. It is also rather inclusive; it isn't a look which requires the wearer to be some sort of bronzed Adonis in order for it to make sense, nor the stand out star in a crowd. It's honestly cool without screaming 'I'm cool, honest!'"

"Sandro menswear aims to create a lifestyle that represents the mixing of styles, non-conformism and a kind of elegant rebel attitude," Chetrite continues, himself the son of Sandro's founder Evelyne Chetrite (whose sister, Judith Milgrom, also founded the competitor Maje). "It is the alter ego of our womenswear. Sandro's menswear helps to express a language and philosophy that is common to both men and women."

There's something in that: Sandro's Gallic cool is at once right on the fashionable money, but it doesn't feel like too much of an effort. Pieces are easy and practical, will fit right in with your existing wardrobe, and come at reasonably accessible mid-range prices, located somewhere between the high street average and more expensive designer brands. And for those sorts of prices, you can buy into modern classics that will work for years to come.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £60,000

    £25000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Workers Required - The London Borough of Bromley

    £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This homecare agency is based in Beckenh...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives - OTE £50,000

    £25000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about Custom...

    Day In a Page

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
    La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

    Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

    The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
    10 best high-end laptops

    10 best high-end laptops

    From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

    The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

    The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
    Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

    After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum